Bilingual Schooling and Earnings: Evidence from a Language-in-Education Reform

46 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2015

See all articles by Lorenzo Cappellari

Lorenzo Cappellari

Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan; University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Antonio Di Paolo

University of Barcelona

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Abstract

We exploit the 1983 language-in-education reform that introduced Catalan alongside Spanish as medium of instruction in Catalan schools to estimate the labour market value of bilingual education. Identification is achieved in a difference-in-differences framework exploiting variation in exposure to the reform across years of schooling and years of birth. We find positive wage returns to bilingual education and no effects on employment, hours of work or occupation. Results are robust to education-cohort specific trends or selection into schooling and are mainly stemming from exposure at compulsory education. We show that the effect worked through increased Catalan proficiency for Spanish speakers and that there were also positive effects for Catalan speakers from families with low education. These findings are consistent with human capital effects rather than with more efficient job search or reduced discrimination. Exploiting the heterogeneous effects of the reform as an instrument for proficiency we find sizeable earnings effects of skills in Catalan.

Keywords: bilingual education, returns to schooling, language-in-education reform, Catalonia

JEL Classification: J24, J31, I28

Suggested Citation

Cappellari, Lorenzo and Di Paolo, Antonio, Bilingual Schooling and Earnings: Evidence from a Language-in-Education Reform. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9431, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2675488

Lorenzo Cappellari (Contact Author)

Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan ( email )

Largo Gemelli, 1
Via Necchi 9
Milan, MI 20123
Italy

University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER)

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Antonio Di Paolo

University of Barcelona ( email )

Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 585
Barcelona, 08007
Spain

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